Friendship first, dating later

By  Samantha Hermack, Youth Speak News
  • February 8, 2009
“Sam, do you have a boyfriend yet?” I hear this question more times than you would think. Most people are surprised that I have never gone on a date in all of my 16 years. I find that most people are confused by this, both people my own age and adults.

In today’s society, usually the idea is that if you are single you should be searching for a relationship because you can’t possibly live happily without one. I know that not every person believes this, but it can be seen in our books, movies, television, music and daily lives. The belief is that we can’t be content as singles. But is that really true?

 Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that dating is a terrible thing, but I don’t believe that it is something that we should feel pressured to do. When you rush into things, unprepared and for the wrong reasons, you get into all sorts of trouble.

You are just lying to yourself and the person you date, because you are telling them that you are attracted to them and are serious about them when you’re not. We’re often told that everybody is doing it, but are they? I can think of many people who aren’t dating and are perfectly happy… but maybe that’s just me. Even if they are, if you do something just because other people are, you’re usually making the wrong choice.

Another argument I hear is that if I don’t start dating soon I’ll never have a chance to get married. Even though I haven’t yet found a member of the opposite sex that I like in the romantic sense, that doesn’t mean that I never will; I mean, I’m only 16, and I have plenty of time ahead of me. Every article and statistic that I have seen on the topic says that only a small percentage of high school sweethearts stay together after graduation.

There are exceptions to that rule, but it just goes to show that people can meet their future spouse later on in life. I would rather wait and go on my first date at 20 than to rush into a relationship simply because I’m told that I should. God knows exactly who I’m meant to be with and when, and He will put him in my path when he’s supposed to be there.

Sometimes I sort of doubt my decision to not date yet, and I wonder what it would be like to have a boyfriend. I’m sure in some ways that it would be fun, but is that what dating is about? Fun? I can have fun with my friends, both male and female, without the complications of dating. In my opinion, dating is supposed to be what we do when we are looking for a potential spouse, and that isn’t what I would be doing at this point.

If I do meet somebody, I want to really get to know him before I become serious, and the best way to do that is through being his friend. So, it seems that friendship with boys is going to be the best option for me for at least a little while; and although I sometimes feel a bit left out, I’m quite content.

For now I’ll focus on the great relationships that I have with my family and friends instead of dwelling on the one that I don’t have.

(Hermack, 16, is a home-schooled Grade 11 student in Grand-Bay Westfield, N.B.)

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